Wasting time?

You’re on the phone and every couple of minutes you get the message “You are number 7 in our queue.”  You wait patiently.  10 minutes later you move up to 6 in the queue, another 20 minutes and you are up to number 4, you then have a 40 minute wait before you reach the dazzling heights of number 3.  You keep holding but you feel like things are taking far too long. Eventually, you find the number for another department and ring that whilst staying on hold. This time the phone is answered.

“Oh no, that team went home 2 hours ago. You’ll need to call back in the morning.”

You bite your lip to stop yourself from uttering some profanity and you put the phone down. You has been wasting your time. You’d been lulled in by a false sense of progress but in fact the only way that you were moving up the queue was because others ahead of you were gradually giving up.  If it’s not happened on a call, it has probably happened whilst stuck in a traffic jam, inching forward only to realise your progress was at the expense of people discovering the road completely blocked and turning around.

We do it in life as well. We find ways to progress up the career ladder to get to the top. I remember when working in industry that every time I moved up a rung, they removed the privileges and status from that level of management: the personal office, the parking space, the silver service management dining room.  You keep on climbing the greasy pole only to discover that the view from the top is no better than at the bottom, your quality of life is no better, your sense of meaning no greater. As Rob Parsons memorably said

“No-one wishes on their death bed that they spent more time in the office.”

Whether it is about money, popularity, fitness or status, we keep pursuing our path only to discover that we have been wasting our time. 

Jesus said

“13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”[1]

In other words, before you get caught up in pursing a particular direction in life, make sure you know that the path will take you where you really want to go. Make sure you know what the final destination is. 

The only path with a certain and positive ending is the path via what Jesus calls the narrow gate. It means putting your trust in Jesus and asking him to forgive you for your sin. It means being willing to sacrifice all of your dreams and ambitions for something greater.

Are you wasting your time in a queue to nowhere or do you know where your life is headed?


[1] Matthew 7:13-14.

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